The discipline of Enterprise Architecture (EA) is still relatively immature and incoherent. The discourse is rather fragmented and lacking a shared vocabulary. To shed some light on the situation, some schools of thought on EA have been suggested, each with its distinct concerns and set of assumptions. In this article, we aim to bring more structure and clarity to EA discourse. Not only do we review the identified types and schools of EA, but we also attempt to make sense of the underlying structural and metaphysical underpinnings of the field and to ground EA in theory. As per our analysis, requisite architecture methods and tools are contingent on the level of complexity. In particular, while best practices and linear techniques are applicable in a contained operational scope, they fall severely short in addressing complex problems pertaining to non-linear discontinuities inherent in the increasingly interconnected and global business environment. On the other hand, we view that an ideal scope of an architecture “work system” is bounded by a maximum number of people able to create a shared meaning. Accordingly, we propose that architectural work in an enterprise be divided into three distinct yet interlinked architectures: Technical, Socio-Technical, and Ecosystemic. Each of these architectures is selfregulated, based on different ontological and epistemological assumptions, has its own vertical scope, and requires its own distinct methods and tools.
This article introduces an approach to define an Enterprise Architecture (EA) that aims to get closer to the abstraction level of the business side of an organization. Named as Enterprise Abstraction Aproach (EAA), the approach stems its roots from ontology engineering, business rules approach and business process engineering and aims to define business view of EA through natural language contructs. The approach also suggests to define domain ontology of the information view of an EA. By extending the business ontology definition towards information and technology views of EA, the approach aims to define a semantic mapping accross self-contained domain ontologies that pertain to different views of an enterprise, achieving a 360-degree view of the enterprise through a unified language.
In this article, we argue that ontology’s and semantic web technologies are important to the future of Enterprise Architecture (EA). The article outlines the value and need for dynamic models of enterprises, and points to semantic web technologies as the most promising way to do this. First, we observe that Enterprise Architecture (EA) models that could be distributed, federated, and executed will be essential to support the needs of agile enterprises to respond rapidly to opportunity and change. As the value propositions, applications and uses of EA move toward executable models, we note that ontology’s and semantic web standard languages are well suited for the next generation of EA solutions. Semantics involve knowledge representation and semantic web technology not only makes it easier to aggregate and analyze information, but also paves the road to active or executable enterprise architectures driven by its capabilities for expressing, querying and federating enterprise models and information.